Garry Gillard > genealogy > R. D. Gillard. See also: his will and lawyers' letters.

Robert Dyer Gillard 1830-1905

Robert Dyer Gillard was born in Martock in 1830, son of Vincent Solomon Gillard (1803-1872) and Mary N. Dyer, as his death certificate (reg. no. 8671 - see bottom of page) indicates, showing VSG to be a 'baker'.

He had two sisters, Sarah and Susan, and a brother, Paul (as well as some half-brothers from his mother's second marriage).

RDG was serving in Cork, Ireland with his regiment January-March 1851. He arrived in Sydney on HMS Vulcan 5 November 1852, as a member of the 40th Foot (Second Somersetshire Regiment). This was the regiment that put down the Eureka rebellion in Ballarat in 1854. It's not known which members of the regiment were at the incident.

RDG's Service Number was 2784. He was a Corporal and in Melbourne at the time of Eureka.  He had one Good Conduct Badge (giving him an extra 1d. per day pay).  He was then promoted to Sergeant as of 1st January 1855 (the last quarter of the Army Year).

He was to marry three times, and die 22 September 1905, at 141 Reilly St Collingwood, in the same year that his grandson, my father, was born (23 May). He was buried 23 September at Boroondara, Kew.

My father David Michael Gillard inherited £121/10/6 from Robert Dyer Gillard's deceased estate in 1960 (!), and this is how he and I came to know of him and other Victorian relatives.

RDG's first wife was Margaret (or Martha) McGrath, who was born in Tipperary in 1838, the daughter of John McGrath and Marianne Ryan. They were married 16 January 1857 in Bendigo. She bore him five children before dying aged 50 on 14 April 1888 at Mary St, Richmond.

Their eldest child was Robert Henry Perceval who was born in 1858, the year after they married, on 16 January 1857 at the Catholic Church, Sandhurst, in Bendigo. He lived only five years, dying in 1863.

The second child, Elizabeth Mary Arabella was born 10 September 1860 in Richmond - where it seems Martha lived from the time of her marriage until her death fifteen years later. Elizabeth had seven children, only of whom died in childhood, as far as we know, so she has a large number of descendants through her marriage in 1887 to John Austin (1854-1906). I take the opportunity to acknowledge the research of two of their descendants, Steward Hogan and Raymond Burt, who have each sent me an enormous amount of information about their/our family. Elizabeth died 19 August 1926 at Westgarth, Northcote, Victoria.

The third child was Eugene Thomas Vincent, who was born 1863 and married Lucy Challis Hinwood. All of his five children lived into old age: Eugene Thomas Vincent II, Robert Clarence, Lilian Janet, Redvers William, Oliver James (later Sir Oliver) Gillard. At least four of them had children themselves. Of Eugene Snr's children probably the most prominent Gillard was Sir Oliver (1906-1984) Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, and after retirement from the bench in 1978, Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, until he suffered a stroke in 1979. He married Jean Mary Gillon in 1934 and their three children are Graeme Oliver, Eugene William and Roger Challis. The two last are or were both barristers in practice in Melbourne.

The fourth child was the second to die in infancy, George Edward (1864-1867).

Martha's fifth and last child was my grandfather William Edgar Gillard (1873-1906).

Before WEG was born, however, Robert Dyer was already in a relationship with a second woman, Bertha Hill Cribb, who was born about 1836 in Whitcombe, Somerset. They were not able to marry until 26 November 1890, after the death of RDG's first wife. However, by that time, she had already borne him four children, the first two before the last child born to Martha! The Victorian Public Trustee's document of July 1960 refers to an inheritance which Robert Dyer received: 'One half share as widower in estate of Bertha Hill Gillard (Cribb)', an amount of £222/1/0.

The first child, Arbella (or Arbela) Gillard (1868-1916) married James Oliver Thomas Winter, but with no issue.

The second child was Ellen Ann Gillard (1870-1929) who married John Simon William Hargreaves. I'm much indebted to his grand-daughter Joyce, and to her daughter Barbara Cohen, for most of what I know about Robert Dyer Gillard. Ellen's and John's four sons were: John Simon William Hargreaves (who lived for only two days, 27-29 December 1896), Thomas Robert Hargreaves, Ernest Albert Hargreaves, and Jack Gillard Hargreaves. Thomas Robert married Annie Bale, and had three children including Joyce (Hargreaves) Cox, who had at least one child, Barbara (Cox) Cohen.

Bertha's third child was Ernest William Gillard (1875-1923) who had seven children: Henry William, Ernest William Dyer, Bertha May Collins, Ruby Isabel Harvey, Allen Keith, Beryl Gordon, and Jack Valentine.

And the fourth was Avernus Deiphobus Gillard (1877-1939). Avernus had nine children: Avernus Thomas, Edward Oliver Cribb, Robert Norman, Elizabeth Annie Maud Jessop, Albert William Gillard, Anastasia Arbelia, Allen, James Frederick Gillard, and Dorothy Violet.

Bertha died 6 May 1902 in Collingwood, probably at 139/141 Alexandra Parade, where RDG owned two houses, which he later left to his third wife during her lifetime.

He married again, for the third time, in 1905, the year of his death, aged 74, to Grace Maling (1875-1940). She had been previously married, and had a son, Charles H. Maling, who therefore became RDG's stepson and one of his heirs, but Grace had no children with RDG. She herself married for a third time after his death, to Richard Edwards, with whom she had four children.

Death certificate


RDG was 75 when he died 22 September 1905. His father was Vincent Solomon Gillard—such an important detail, as it's the link between Martock and Collingwood—and his mother was Mary Dyer. The cause of death is chronic nephritis (spelt 'nepritis') & albuminuria. Meaning that RDG had inflammation of the kidneys and albumen in the urine - kidney disease.


RDG was born in Somersetshire (near Martock). The informant, Grace Gillard, was formerly Grace Maling and was RD's third wife. This certificate says that there were no children of the second marriage. That's because tho RDG had four children with Bertha Hill Cribb, they were born before he was able to marry her after the death of his first wife, and therefore illegitimate. For the registrar, they do not exist. RDG's remains are in Boroondara Cemetery, Kew, Victoria.

References and Acknowledgements

Jeffrey J. Gillard, Thick on the Ground: A Story of Van Diemen's Land and of Free Settler George Gillard, his ancestors and descendants 1572-1809-1978 (with brief references to other early Australian Gillard families), printed [privately] for the author in Melbourne Victoria, June 1978, limited edition.

Thanks to family members Steward Hogan and Raymond Burt, who have each sent me an enormous amount of information about their/our family. Thanks also to RDG's grand-daughter Joyce Cox (Hargreaves), and to her daughter Barbara Cohen, for most of what I know about Robert Dyer Gillard.

Many thanks also to Wendy McLeod (from the Austin branch) for sending me a copy of RDG's will.

Many thanks to Diane Oldman for details of RDG's service record.

See also: the images of RDG's will and lawyers' letter about it.

Garry Gillard | New: 13 July, 2009 | Now: 21 November, 2021